Preview: Texas



UNC renews its recent rivalry with the Big 12’s Texas Longhorns tonight in Chapel Hill.

The two have met the last two years at “neutral” sites with the teams splitting the contests. Last season in Greensboro, the Longhorns clipped the Heels on a last second prayer. UNC got the better of UT at Jerry’s World in Dallas in 2009.

UT lost two of its standout freshman from last year but still has a solid core and a very capable coach in Rick Barnes.

  • It should first be mentioned that if any team is challenging UNC for best on-court kicks it may be Texas. I say this because in its last game, Texas came out sporting the Kevin Durant’s latest signature shoe in the very loud “Nerf” colorway.  On a game-to-game basis they may not be able to compete, but that game alone was dope.
  • Junior J’Covan Brown has led the Longhorns this year. Averaging over 19 points per game, Brown has led the team in scoring in seven of 11 games while also being one of the most battle tested of the bunch.
  • Point guard Myck Kabongo is only a freshman but is proven himself a very capable floor leader. Kabongo it averaging 6 assists per (although he’s also turning the ball over a decent amount, but he is a freshman) and is also third on the team in scoring with over 10 a game. This is the type of player Kendall Marshall may have a hard time staying in front of so Dexter Strickland may see some time on the PG. Kabongo is also another on the list of Canadian recruits for Barnes.
  • Texas has used the same starting five in all 11 games this season. UNC has also used only one starting five.
  • The Longhorns’ two losses have not come against bad teams. NC State got the better of Texas on a neutral court, as did Oregon State in OT on the same court two days earlier.
  • Harrison Barnes has scored under double-digits in the last two games but still leads the Heels in scoring. While he looked off against App State, nine players scored over 7 points against Nicholls State with Dexter Strickland being the only starter in double figures.
  • Three Heels pulled down ten or more rebounds against Nicholls State on the way to 72 as a team, including 31 on the offensive side. The Heels were already 4th in the country in rebounding but now sit at 1st.
  • This is how Texas ranks nationally: Scoring, 17th; Rebounds per Game, 35th; Assists per Game, 67th; Field Goal Percentage, 44th.
  • This is how UNC ranks nationally: Scoring, 3rd; Rebounds per Game, 1st; Assists per Game, 3rd; Field Goal Percentage, 30th.
Texas is currently unranked but can easily move its way into the top-25 during the season. If UNC can hold J’Covan Brown and Myck Kabongo in check it should pull out a W.
Prediction: UNC 82, Texas 70